30 Good Things Before 30: #18 – Bard in the Barracks

Is your summer shaping up to be as busy as mine?

Between meeting up with my running group three times a week, getting in two more weekly solo runs on top of that, attempting to establish the veggie gardens, and the celebrations that are quickly booking up our weekends, I’m already panicking about the summer getting away from me.

30-good-things-before-30It seems like fall will be here before we know it if we don’t reach out, grab a hold of something fun, and force time to slow down a little bit so we can just sit back and enjoy it.

Which brings me to #18 on my list of 30 Good Things Before 30:


Bard in the Barracks

Bard in the Barracks is a non-profit theatre company based in Fredericton. It was founded in 2006 with a mandate to  “produce innovative and entertaining site-specific outdoor productions of the plays of William Shakespeare.”11149683_799923410092040_8330965087357849064_o

Simply put, they make Shakespeare interesting.

They derive the “barracks” part of their name from the fact that they got their start in downtown Fredericton’s Barracks Square. From 2006 to 2008, they staged their plays in this little national historic site named for the 3.5-storey structure it houses. The barracks, built by the British Army in 1827, once accommodated more than 200 soldiers. (Yep, I Googled that.)

In 2009, they (the company, not the soldiers) moved to Odell Park — the crowning jewel in my city’s parklands — where they stepped up the innovation big-time. Scenes were staged in different areas of the wooded park and the audience walked from scene to scene.

In 2010, I saw their production of Macbeth and became the company’s biggest fan. I will never, ever forget the trio of witches lurking in the woods, scaring the bejesus out of the audience as we navigated the trails.

I’ve been attending every year since (with the exception of last year when Tropical Storm Arthur brought Fredericton to its knees and cut short the company’s run of Hamlet). It’s a summer tradition. An evening out that the husband and I look forward to.

Now, I’m not a Shakespeare buff. Not by a long shot.

I studied a few of his plays in high school and university. Turns out I was much more enchanted with the idea of reading Shakespeare than with the stuff the guy actually wrote.

However, Bard in the Barracks always manages to capture my interest with their unique costume and staging concepts and talented cast members that infuse every line with way more meaning than I could ever hope to get off the page.

This year, to celebrate their 10th anniversary, Bard in the Barracks is staging two plays: a return to their roots with Romeo and Juliet in the barracks and another shot at Hamlet in Odell Park. You can find full show details on their site over here.

Their advertsiing is also totally on-point. This was waiting for me on the sidewalk outside the Running Room after my 6k tempo run tonight.

Their advertising is also totally on-point. This was waiting for me on the sidewalk outside the Running Room after my 6k tempo run tonight.

We’re picking up tickets for both shows tomorrow. Summer is busy, sure, but Bard in the Barracks is worth slowing down for.

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